Monday, January 9, 2012

Oregon Trail Qualifier...

The thing about speech tournaments is that you never know how they're going to turn out.  You might have a speech perfectly memorized and mess up and not break to out rounds, and you might be memorizing a speech as you walk in the door and place 1st.  You might have an apologetics box full of cards and not place as highly as somebody who has only seven cards.  This is just part of what a tournament is.  All of the students who have done more than one tournment have come to grips with this.  It may not always seem fair, but that's a tournament.

The thing about speech in general is that you never know how you, as a speaker, are going to do.  You might pull a card in apologetics that happens to be your favorite and totally fail, or you might pull one that you have been avoiding for ages and totally own the room.  You might have years of experience or this might be your first speech, and either way, you have no clue how things are going to turn out.

My third round of Persuasive was great.  I had lots of friends in the room, the judges were responsive, I wasn't making mistakes...and then I started to cry.  In this speech I talk a little bit about my cousin, Caroline, who died two years ago when she was hit by a car.  I did just fine the first two rounds, and I was doing just fine my third, and then I recited the poem that she wrote, and, when I finished the poem, I started crying.  I actually had to pause for a little while and I sort of choked out my conclusion.

It's so strange, I started writing this speech in October.  I knew that I'd be using Caroline's poem from the beginning.  I've read it dozens of times, practiced my speech over and over and over and over, read it to people, read it to myself, and have written it out about a million times, and it still hit me like that.  I finished the poem and all I was thinking was, "This is Caroline's, she should be here."

In the end, more often than not, we speakers learn far more than anyone else does.  As I gave my speech the message hit me over and over.

Yes, being a Semi Finalist in Apologetics is a blessing, but I learned so much through that experience that qualifying for Regionals is just a cherry on top.  Yes, second in Persuasive is wonderful, but the crowning glory, my true, "success," at this tournament is to be found in judge comments, not in that medal.

"I'm sorry about your Cousin, Caroline.  You honored her very well." ~Round 1

"Very good.  Would not change a thing.  Please don't change a thing!" ~Round 3

"This speech was refreshing and challenging.  Your cousin's example really made your point 
come alive.  Thank you so much!"  ~Round 3

"Compelling." ~Finals

"Well crafted and inspiring... You brought the passion and empathy of personal connection...May you continue to use God's given gifts, abilities, talents,passions for His glory." ~Finals

They got it!  They got the message!  God is good.  Man, He is so good.

Over and out,



  1. That's wonderful, Em! It's awesome that the judges got the message you convey so beautifully with that speech! I know God was glorified! :)

  2. Thank you, Tianna! It was a wonderful experience and I'm SO glad that they understood what I was telling them, it makes all of the tears and sweat SO worth it! =)

  3. Praise God!! Isn't is beautiful to know that God totally spoke through you? Gives me chills! :)

  4. I know, it's so crazy. I am always amazed at how much I underestimate Him. I'm always shocked when He works through me. =)

  5. Wow! God is amazing! Soli Deo Gloria! Thank you for having the courage to speak, to speak about your cousin and her example, to speak of Christ and His amazing grace, and of your experiences, both the struggles and triumphs of life. God bless you, Emily! You are a beautiful blessing and inspiration to me.

  6. Thank you, Colleen! It was such a blessing being able to see you there.